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Destinations

Sergio, the Goat Whisperer

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Travel - Destinations

By David Hoban, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
CINQUE TERRE, ITALY (August 2010) - First the tinkling of bells. Then the clatter of hooves. Around the bend comes a herd of goats, fifty strong. Behind and in front two dogs. Behind the mass, Sergio in his jeep.
I stand aside as they come to the bivio, the junction of three roads at the passo, overlooking the sea on one side and on the other, a blue-green vista of mountain chains blending with clouds in the distance. Sergio tells me from the jeep that he’s going to milk the goats. Where’s the barn I think, the stalls?

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Ride 'Em Cowboy!

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Destinations

 
Ride -- and eat! -- like a cowboy at North Fork Ranch in Shawnee, Colorado. Tara Leonard © santacruzwire.com
   

North Fork Ranch: Where Kids Can Be Kids (So Parents Can Too!)

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Destinations

Written by Tara Leonard

SHAWNEE, COLORADO (August, 2009) -- “Did I ever tell you about the time I was stalked by wolves?” Trevor asked, his eyes twinkling beneath a well-worn black cowboy hat. One hand on the reins, he twisted in the saddle to survey his audience and launched into an outrageous tale of Wild West adventure. I was so distracted by the gorgeous, fluttering aspens and clear blue mountain sky that I missed some salient details, but trotted my horse up closer just in time to hear, “You always shoot between the eyes, but these were two wolves and they each had one eye closed to trick me!”
Welcome to North Fork Ranch where the entertaining wranglers are just one of many unexpected pleasures. (North Fork Ranch lesson #1: How do you know when a wrangler is lying? His mouth is moving.)

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Surprise at Sun Valley

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Destinations

By Peggy Townsend

KETCHUM, IDAHO (Feb. 2009) “You want to see something creepy?” asked bartender Helen Yang.
I had come to the smoky, low-ceilinged Casino Bar in Ketchum in search of writer Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinking spot.  But Yang, a snowboarder who arrived in this town looking for powder and stayed for 13 years, didn’t know much about the seat Hemingway reportedly favored and the offer to see something weird was more than I could refuse.
 “This way,” said Yang, as she headed past two pool tables to a side door in the bar. Her voice had a husky, Lauren Bacall quality to it.  She wore a short denim skirt and Ugg boots.
 I followed Yang up a set of rough wooden stairs, through a locked door and into a  hallway whose floor sloped like one of the ski runs on Bald Mountain a few blocks away. The wood groaned and cracked under my feet.

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Bigfoot Country

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Destinations

 
A towering Sasquatch is carved from a single redwood trunk at Willow Creek Museum, Humboldt County. © santacruzwire.com
   

Dodge Ridge is a Family Friendly Alternative to Tahoe Skiing

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Destinations

Written by Tara Leonard

PINECREST, CA (January, 2009) -- Eager for a last-minute ski weekend, but dreading the thought of 5+ hours in the car, my family opted for a closer alternative, Dodge Ridge. Located in the remote town of Pinecrest, 30 miles east of Sonora, this family friendly ski mountain is a manageable 3½ hours from Santa Cruz but  a world away from Tahoe crowds and the resort mountain attitude.

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The Country Cousin's Guide to a Holiday Weekend in San Francisco

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 2008) - We just returned from our annual holiday weekend in San Francisco. We saw “A Christmas Carol” at ACT, ate at Kuleto’s, ogled the kittens in Macy’s windows, and had our Christmas card photo taken in front of the holiday tree in Union Square.
Jeez, what a bunch of rubes! We should have felt abashed to be so obviously suburban, but we were having too much fun to care. Too bad we never got around to that cable car ride.

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Yosemite Rockslide's Silver Lining

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

Mariposa, CA (July, 2007) - The monster rockslide that buried the highway linking the town of Mariposa and Yosemite National Park last year brought visions of doom to Mariposa merchants, whose livelihood depends on access to the park. But now that the dust has settled and a one-lane detour has been installed around the slide, tourists and locals are adapting to, and even savoring, the changes the landslide has wrought.

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River Rock Inn - Park it in the Sierra

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

Mariposa, CA (July 2007) -- Yosemite National Park draws a bazillion tourists every year, and during the summer you would swear they're all there at the same time. But if you
head to the River Rock Inn in Mariposa, you can enjoy the Sierra for a
fraction of Yosemite's cost (and crowds).

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Geyserville's Two Worlds

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
Geyserville, CA (July 2007) -- About 20 years ago, during a weeklong Wine Country bike trip, my husband and I stumbled across a strange little inn with a private zoo, where we slept in a room dedicated to an Egyptian goddess, skinny-dipped in the pool and ate French toast in the skylit dining hall before getting back on our bikes and pedaling away.

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Isis Oasis Sanctuary - Sleep Like an Egyptian

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

Geyserville, CA (July 2007) -- Rural Sonoma County is so thick with wineries that you can barely swing a cat without sloshing someone's Chardonnay. But it also has the Isis Oasis
Sanctuary in Geyserville, where anyone swinging a feline risks offending
Bast, the Egyptian cat goddess.

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Hearst Castle Anniversary

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County (Oct. 2007) – Fortunately, curiosity got the best of me.
If, like me, you've avoided Hearst Castle for years because you shudder at the thought of being mistaken for a tourist on your home turf, now might be a good time to get over it. The famous Central Coast hilltop palace built for William Randolph Hearst has been in public hands for half a century now, and while the estate hasn't changed in 50 years, experiencing it has.

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Cambria Pines Lodge

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Destinations

By Maria Gaura
This story originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle

Cambria, CA (Oct. 2007) -- When a gardener turns hotelier, the outdoor rooms can
be an attraction in their own right. That is the case at Cambria Pines
Lodge, where well-raked garden paths meander from one leafy enclosure to
the next.

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